This Chinese hard rubber clarinet is currently sold (as of December 2011) via Amazon.com, Hyson Music, http://www.ljhutchen.com, and http://www.pauleffmanmusic.com. The reviews seem to be quite enthusiastic. Paul Effman is the sponsor/designer of the instrument, and the one behind all of the sales outlets mentioned above. Paul generously allowed me to review this instrument.
27Feb2014: Note that the Hutchen line has been updated with the LJH-CL3 reviewed here. That model is made of plastic, and I liked the intonation better than this hard rubber model.
Barrel: 62.4mm (This short barrel is typical for Chinese hard rubber instruments.)
Bore LH joint top: 14.6mm
Bore LH joint at bottom: 14.6mm This is NOT poly-cylindrical.
Intonation results taken when playing loud and not lipping. See how to interpret these results on the Model Comparison Page.
For this test, I pulled very slightly, about 0.2 mm at the barrel. Do not pull in the center for this horn!
Intonation summary: This is pretty good intonation. It is will work fine for beginning students.
It is a bit weird that there is flatness around clarion F, G and A, but one can lip those up. The Chalemeau D is way sharp. The tone hole is offset, just like my Ridenour clarinet. I took out my Ridenour and tested that I wasn’t just playing weird today. Nope, the Ridenour plays much more in tune. I always start testing in the lower register, and when I saw sharpness there, I pulled in the center. However one cannot do that with this horn! It makes the clarion G and F intolerably flat.
Key work quality: Looks good, but I am not going to bend things to find out more. The crowfoot extension (below right pinkie) is a generously thick 2.9mm. The thumb rest looks very secure and thick. The pads on this new instrument came seating well.
This clarinet is most appropriate for: This is a good beginner horn and one can get it new for a little over $200. Because of intonation being somewhat unusual in the Clarion register, and the sharp Chalemeau D, other major brands of beginning clarinets are still better. I do like this being a hard rubber horn, like my Ridenour. This instrument is way better than some Chinese plastic and hard rubber clarinets I have seen. A couple of other advantages: Mr. Effman makes sure that the Hutchen is being sold with a better than average case and a good mouthpiece.
Information from Justin Varuzzo, who works for Paul Effman Music:
I just had this email forwarded to me from Mr. Effman. I handle all internet sales / relations, so he passed this onto me. I’d appreciate the opportunity to send you a sample for review. We have an excellent student clarinet, and believe there is nothing else in the price range that matches the quality. Obviously your very familiar with Chinese instruments, factories, etc.
Other companies buy as cheap as they can and end up turning killing music for countless students.
Ten years ago my students were showing up with pink flutes and yellow clarinets purchased at Costco.
I started LJ Hutchen so that children would have affordable instruments which would not inhibit their progress.
Many of the people who buy my instruments are also part of a nationwide educational program which I founded
If my instruments are problematic, I am endangering music education.
Sounds corny but this comes from my heart.
I am a guy who has taught and played for 45+ years.
My clarinet factory works with me when it comes to subtle changes.
I welcome input from qualified sources.